New trick…

So I was bringing my husband home from the doctor… he is sick, very sick. He has a blood disorder that causes him to get more sick than most of us would with the flu.

Anyways… I was driving down a back road and heard my back window open and saw Chase, our smallest dog, stick his nose out of the window. It’s common for us to put the windows down for him, but my husband was asleep and I hadn’t done it. Then I saw the window go down more and my husband stirred. I asked him if he had put the window down for Chase and he said he hadn’t. Hummmmm…

I finally figured it out, Chase has learned a new trick… how to put down the window for himself. Luckey he hadn’t put it down any further then we would and he was happy smelling the air. When my husband and I figured out what he had done we spent about 10 minutes laughing and being amazed. He just looked at us like we were crazy. It amazes me every day how smart dogs are. It shows me even more you don’t have to have a pure bred pup to have a smart dog.

I guess we will have to use the child safety locks from now on, especially when we are on the main roads.

After we put the window up he was sad...

Baxter’s Potato Kale Chowder

My whole house smells delightful and warm tonight. It’s been snowing off and on all day and my husband is sick, so I decided to make a warm and wholesome meal for dinner… So I made a chowder that would fill him up with good nutrition.

So What you will need:

1/2 cup Olive Oil  (divided into two 1/4th cups) and extra for the garlic.

2 whole Yellow Onions, diced

1 bulb Garlic, roasted

1 tbsp dried Thyme (you can use fresh but use 2-3 tbsp)

16 ounces Sausage, crumbled

4 cups Chicken Stock or Broth  (I use homemade chicken or turkey stock)

6 Potatoes, chopped (I used white potatoes, but if you use russets you need to peel them)

1 small bunch Kale, chopped

2 cups Half and Half

1/4 cups White Rice Flour (or gluten-free all-purpose)

Salt and Pepper (Black or White Pepper)

1 tbsp Garlic Powder

What you will need…

What to Do:

1.) Heat oven to 350*. Cut off the top of a bulb of garlic and place in alumium foil. Cover with olive oil and close up in the foil. Place on a baking pan and bake 20-25 minutes untill bulb is soft. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the bulb or use a spoon to scoop them out.

Garlic in the foil with olive oil.

Garlic after roasting

2.) Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, then add onions and garlic. Saute until onions begin to soften. This takes about 5-7 minutes.

3.) Add in the sausage and break it apart into small crumbles until it is brown.

4.) Add in kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

5.) Add in potatoes and Thyme. Stir together with kale, sausage, garlic, and onion mixture.

Onions, garlic, sausage, Thyme, kale, and potatoes

6.) Add in stock or broth and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are just fork tender. (The cooking time with vary according to how thick you cut the potatoes, smaller chunks more like 15 minutes and larger more like 25 minutes).

7.) Slowly add in half and half, stirring, and bring chowder back to boil, simmer while you do the next step.

After adding the half and half

8.) To thicken soup… In a small pan/skillet put the remainder of the oil and the flour. Cook the roux mixture string with a wire whisk until it is smooth and starting to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Do not over cook or burn.

9.) Add to chowder and stir until the chowder thickens about 3 minutes. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

The Chowder plated

Serving Ideas:

1.) I like to serve this with some shredded cheese on top. Other options would be bacon crisped and crumbled, chopped green onions, or chopped pieces of ham.

2.) You can use hot sausage for a hotter taste or any variety you might like.

3.) If you don’t like kale you can leave it out or use collard greens. If you want to use spinach wait till after you add the half and half or milk.

4.) You can also use milk instead of half and half.

Other Tips:

1.) Make sure to only cook the roux mixture until smooth and only slightly brown. If it burns it will not be good to use.

2.) If you want to re-warm the chowder do so on low heat and make sure to stir it often. If it is too thick add milk or half and half.

3.) Store in the fridge once it gets cool enough to put in, to keep it from spoiling.

4.) If you can not roast the garlic, finely chop 2-3 cloves and add when it says to add the roasted.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: With the garlic prep 30 – 50 minutes, without roasting the garlic 30-40

Serves: 8-10

Serving Size: 1 – 1 1/2 cup

Roy Rogers and Horses

Today I was walking through the living room cleaning and saw my husband had Roy Rogers on the TV. Now I don’t think he knew what he was watching as he was asleep. I remember as a kid watching reruns and wanting to ride a horse like Roy. Now if you know anything about Roy you know he has a trusty horse Trigger and of coarse a dog Bullet that can help him get the bad guys. I think Baxter and Chase would protect me if they had to, but I don’t think I could send them trailing after a bad guy and expect a lot of success. But, that’s ok they have other jobs they do very well.

Now back to Roy and riding… I have ridden since I was a little kid, but never was really brave enough to do any more than learn to barrel race and ride. I always wondered what it would be like to meet some of the old stars like Roy and know how they felt when riding. When my Dad had his accident and became paralyzed we had to sell our farm and most things on it to pay the bills. Since then my husband and I try to ride when we go on vacation or if we get other opportunities. This goes along with our dream to have our ranch/farm someday so we can teach our kids to be responsible while having fun, just like Roy did.

I think that is what I like most about Roy. He always encouraged kids to be responsible, have faith, and to be active outdoors. He loved kids and despite lot of outside pressure never caved from his faith and his dedication to his family. On and off screen he fought for the good guys and showed true internal strength.

I hope some day my husband and I can show/teach these same values to our kids.

For now we can can practice with the dogs…

Have a good week. Love, Baxter and Chase

Tales of Baxter the Therapy Dog…

So last night was Read Across America… Baxter did an exceptional job with all the crowd of kids, parents, grandparents, characters (as they were also celebrating Dr. Suess Cat in the Hat Birthday and had people in custume there for the kids), and other people passing. He was attentive and kind, even when the kids who were a little too rough. For his efforts and good behavior he was rewarded with some ice cream…

The boys love ice cream...

As you can see Chase needed a reward for having to wait for us with his daddy in the truck and not getting to go into the mall with us.

I couldn’t get a good shot of Baxter with the kids, all I could get in the commotion was this one…

Proud TDI dog

I think Baxter and I would be willing to do this again if the chance arose. Baxter seemed to soke up all the attention, smells (can you  say food court), and sights of a mall. I think the smells were his favorite;)

The night and event went well. I hope you all had a good Saturday.

Read Across America

Tonight is Read Across America at many malls supporting kids reading. Therapy Dogs are an important part of this event at a mall near us. Baxter will be participating in this event and appears up for the tasks. This will be the first event of this kind Baxter will be a part of. Last year he was not feeling well during the event so he couldn’t attend. The mall is expecting a lot of kids, so I hope he will not be too overwhelmed. I’ll try to get a picture to post later. Right now he is taking a nap in preparation and Chase is right next to him trying to snooze too. They look like two peas in a pod. There is something about a sleeping dog that makes you relax and smile.

I think I woke them up when I took this...

I see each day with my dog’s that they have their own special talents. Tonight Baxter will use his talent of calm listening, but I have a feeling with all the kids they are expecting this talent will be put to the test. Fingers crossed…

Wednesday…

I got home tonight to find my husband had made dinner. Now when I say made, he put the stuffed pasta shells and pasta sauce I made the other week and froze, into the oven to cook. But I still appreciate it very much 🙂 It’s nice to come home after a long day and have a hot and healthy meal ready for you. It’s also nice to know after almost 4 years of marriage (and 6 years together) that he still takes the time to make such a loving gesture.

As I get older I try to look for the little things that make life good. Some days it may be hard, but usually achievable. Even on the worst day I have found a kind comment, someone let me over in traffic, my dogs playing, or a hug from my husband, may be all there is… but it is still good. I think in a world where all you see on TV is bad news, poor taste in shows,  negative behaviors being glamorized, and so many things that can break down a spirit… it is nice to seek out the good and try to keep out the bad, especially for kids sakes. There are good things on TV, but you have to look and really pay attention to a show, even the subtleties of it to make sure it is appropriate for you and your family. As someone once said… When you put junk in… you get junk out.

Well, hump day is over and so is half the week. It passes by quicker each year. I hope you have a good rest of the week.

Tuesday…

It was another long day. I had a training at work that started before I normally go in on a Tuesday. Then I worked my normal hours after that, for an 10 hour day total. It was nice to get off and come home to my husband and dad at the table waiting on the chinese food I was bringing, so they wouldn’t have to wait for me to cook. They were sitting around counting the change they had collected as the dogs were laying underfoot. I always enjoy the feeling of coming home to family (this includes the pets). I love walking in the door being greeted with smiling faces, kisses, and wagging tails. It makes a good day better and a bad day good. Tomorrow is set to be a busy day too at work, but I am looking forward to coming home to walk the dogs and enjoy the sunshine.

I was looking through my photos the other day and found this picture of our most recent chicks when they were a few days old. I thought I would share because I think they are cuties.

The chicks a few days after they were born...

I hope y’all have a happy Wednesday…

Monday…

What a day… I am ready for bed. Work was long. When I got home and after I put on the pot roast (see recipes section), my husband and I took the dogs on a long walk. For the first day in a long time it was nice weather, sunny, and NO WIND. The chickens who had been let out in the back yard, were playing and pecking around. We went walking and just enjoyed the beauty of the country. It’s so funny to watch the dogs on a walk as they seem to live for long walks and nice weather.

Baxter and Chase having a ball on their walk...

The appear to smile and glow. It’s so nice to watch and hard not to smile when you see them. I love having my pups and think I am getting a little glimpse into the future for when God blesses us with kids. It’s not always easy, but it is rewarding at the end of most days.  We saw our neighbor on the way back from our walk and stopped to talk. It’s always nice to catch up with the neighbors.

I hope you all have a blessed week.

Grandmas Pot Roast Updated

You will need:

  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3-5 lb chuck roast
  • Garlic powder, Salt, and Pepper to season roast
  • 2 large or 4-5 small onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 stem fresh oregano or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1 small bag baby carrots
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water

What you need…

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 300*

2. Chop onions and potatoes into quarters or smaller if desired.

The onions and Potatoes quartered

3. Generously salt and pepper pot roast adding garlic powder.

The roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder…

4. Heat over medium heat 2 tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil in a large dutch oven or large pot that can go in the oven.

5. Place cut onions in the pot and cook 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally until onions are evenly browned on most sides.

The onions browning…

6. Remove onions from the pot and put aside.

7. You may want to add more oil at this point. Put potatoes and carrots in the pot and brown like the onions. This usually takes about 10-12 minutes. Make sure you stir every couple of minutes so the potatoes don’t stick. The carrots and potatoes wont brown as much as the onions.

Carrots and Potatoes browning…

8. Add garlic till it starts to soften with the potatoes and carrots.

9. Remove all the vegetables and put them with the onions on a plate.

10. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to a hot-pot over medium high heat and then sear the pot roast on each side. About 2 minutes a side.

Roast side 1

Roast side 3

11.When all the sides are seared remove the roast from the pot and de-glaze it with 1 cup of the beef broth, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon or wisk.

12. Place the roast back in the pot and add the vegetables on top.

It all goes back in

13. Sprinkle in the thyme and oregeno, and add the remaining 3 cups of beef brother and 2 cups water.

Broth in the pot

14. Cover and place in the oven. Cook about 1 to 1 1/2 hours per pound. For my 3.29 lb roast I cooked it for 4 1/2 hours or until the roast falls apart when you try to get it out of the pot. * cooking times can vary depending on your oven*

In the oven

15. Check the roast about every 1 1/2 hours to make sure you do not need to add any more water or broth as you want everything to stay covered.

After cooking it can look like this

16. Remove from the oven when your kitchen smells like your grandmother’s did on pot roast night 😉 Serve and enjoy!

The plated final product

Serving Ideas:  

  • You can also cook the potatoes separately and use them to make mashed potatoes (with cream cheese and chives very good) or roast the quarters with a little bit of EVOO and italian seasoning.
  • Other vegetables you can use with the roast in place of potatoes is parsnips and instead of onions you can use leeks. It will change the flavor, but can still be good.
  • You can also use cooking wine or red wine to de-glaze the pot instead of beef brother and just use the broth for cooking it in the oven. You will need less wine than broth if you choose to do this, only about 1/2 cup.
  • I used a boneless chuck roast (cut specifically for pot roast), but you can use other cuts of meat  including: boneless shoulder roast (cut also for pot roast, but is a little more tough), brisket (would be a good choice as it is very tender and soft),and sirloin tip roast or top round roast (but this tends to be a tougher pot roast and will not fall apart as much).

Other Tips:

  • Make sure you do not skip the browning and searing parts of the recipe as they are important to the flavor and moisture of the ingredients.
  • You can do two roasts and more vegetables at a time if you have a pot big enough, just make sure to cook it till the roast(s) falls apart.
  • Cook the roast about  to 1 1/2 hours per pound so for a 4-5 lb roast cook it 4-5 hours.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes  depending on how fast you chop and season

Cook Time: Depending on your roast and oven 4-5 hours.

Serves: 6

Serving Size: About 4-6 oz of meat and a good scoop or so of vegetables.

Sunday the day of rest…

So today is supposed to be a day of rest and in some households it is. In my household we try to honor this, however today it was not so easy to do. I had so many other things to do yesterday that the house list from Saturday got moved to today. Todays list included cleaning (including closets, drawers, floors, rugs, dusting, polishing, dishes, and laundry), grocery shopping, taking care of the pups and chickens (who are running around the yard), and a little light cooking. I am too tired to make my original plan of Pot Roast and not just any pot roast, the Best Pot Roast in the World (recipe to come hopefully tomorrow). I decided to take a break and write a post and see if anyone was out there… I hope you had a good Sunday that was less busy than mine. Blessings for the coming week.

Some of the chickens...

Lemon Paprika Chicken

Here is what’s for dinner tonight…

What you will need:

1 lemon (zest the outside and cut in 1/2)

8 oz Peppers (mixed yellow, orange, red) frozen or fresh

8 oz Broccoli frozen or fresh

8 oz Green Beans frozen or fresh

6 oz Corn frozen or fresh

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1 lb)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

4 tsp paprika (sweet or smoked)

1 1/2 cups mariana sauce (homemade or store-bought)

Spray cooking oil or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (4 tsp)

The ingredients…

What to do:

1. Place non stick skillet over medium heat add 2 tsp of the coconut oil or spray skillet with cooking spray.

2. Place vegetables and lemon peel in melted oil and cook 8-10 minutes until tender, stirring every couple of minutes to cook vegetable evenly. Then add 1/4 tsp black pepper. When done transfer to a plate and keep warm.

The vegetables cooking in a cast iron skillet

3. Season chicken on both sides with the remaining black pepper, salt, and paprika.

4. If needed add remaining 2 tsp of coconut oil or spray skillet with more cooking spray. Add chicken to skillet and brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes a side depending on your skillet. While the first side is browning squeeze half the lemon over the chicken, being careful not to get seeds in the skillet.

The chicken browned

5. When both sides are browned add back in the vegetables. Squeeze on the other half of the lemon and add in the mariner sauce. Stir then reduce heat to low/medium, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring if needed.

Its all back in the skillet

6. Serve.

Finished and plated

Serving Ideas:

Serve over egg noodles, or for a healthier option serve over whole wheat noodles or brown rice. You can just serve as is too. Also my father and husband like to shake a little Texas Pete on top of it before eating.

Other Tips:

Amount of seasoning can be adjusted to your taste. You can also add more or less vegetables and adjust the recipe to serve more or less people. You can also add different vegetables according to what you have in you freezer or on hand. Other good ideas are zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, okra, etc. You can also substitute turkey breast for the chicken if that is what you have.

Prep time: If vegetables are frozen: 4 minutes. If vegetables are fresh: 6-8 minutes depending on how fast you chop.

Cook Time: 28 – 36 minutes

Serves: 4 people

Serving size: 1 chicken breast and 3/4 cups vegetables

Work in progress…

So I have been sitting here all morning trying to figure out how to work all aspects of this blog… I have to admit I am having some trouble… but as the old saying goes practice makes perfect so I will keep at it. Wish me luck.

Today is also a day that I take Baxter my therapy dog to his Therapy Dog event at a library. There kids get a opportunity to read to him without judgement. They love this and he loves kids so it works out well. I will try to post a picture of him later. Have a good Saturday.

Adendium: Here is the picture  promised.

Baxter the Therapy Dog